The future of work is beginning to be a frequent discussion in the modern world especially with the many advancements in social, economic, political and technological spheres. It is becoming a necessary task to understand and anticipate the paradigm shifts expected and, in areas where predictions show no improvement or foreseeable slumps, to provide proactive solutions. However, although defining the future might prove a challenge, it is imperative to know that with the current rate of change of events in, technology, labor migration, and gender equality among other factors, things are beginning to change and work is taking on a different outlook already. Traditional structures in the workplace are starting to be obsolete, and people can venture into diverse areas and careers in their lifetimes, unlike the past where persons only ventured into one or two for all their lives. Today, women are taking on paid employment and individuals are crossing into countries with ease. These activities are laying a groundwork for how the future of work will look. Of all the factors set to impact society, work, and jobs in the future, technology is by far the most significant contributor, with people moving online to offer services, automation taking over production and, artificial intelligence crossing in all levels involving tasks.
In the modern era, individuals engage in activities, considered as work, for different reasons. People might passionately invest in tasks and projects for all of their life, with the belief that it gives purpose and meaning to their lives. However, most people, globally, work for survival, to be able to earn a living, support their lifestyles and prepare for emergencies. Over the years, a transition in the value and definition of work has been evident in most communities. Different societies ascribe value to work differently.
Nevertheless, all forms of work either advance an individual or, contribute immensely to society. The future of work remains pegged on the multiple factors that will determine the structure of the workplace, career paths, income and social relationships associated with labor (Prieto & Travieso, 2018). These factors are; technology, demographic shifts in age, sex and race and ethnicity, labor migration and new age instruments in human resource management, such as psychology.
In the world today, women are taking on paid employment and abandoning care services. This trend is set to increase especially with affirmative actions fronted by most governments all around the world, the establishment of unions and the rise of the activism age. It is evident that in the future women will have more protection in the workplace and encourage others to follow suit and join in the employment circle. Female labor involvement increases steadily as more men opt out of employment bringing out a more balanced work composition. Traditionally, women often got subordinated to caregiving work. However, since the fight for equal education for all has been able to achieve tremendous success in most regions internationally, women are now slowly becoming equally suited to take on jobs that were once characterized by considerable proportions of men.
In Europe, a significant portion of the population is aging. The report released by the WHO suggests that life expectancy increased by six years, meaning that businesses and employers will feel the pinch of having to provide pensions for a population living longer than expected. It, therefore, implies that most countries in the west will put a short break on retirement in the quest to continue benefitting from the services of these individuals. This situation will also put pressure on organizations to hire the available younger population to secure the continuity of business. The work composition will consequently include people of different age groups. In regions like Africa and India, the younger population is larger than the overall population which will most likely reinvigorate the economies of countries in Africa and India. However, this population may demand more jobs than available, putting a strain on the available resources. While these group might be indispensably vital to the growth of the economy, it may also introduce a crisis where the total demand for opportunities exceed the available supply (Prieto & Travieso, 2018).
Technology completely affects the general structures of the workplace. The rise of IT platforms mainly brought about a considerable change in the delivery of services and products. Such innovations will be the basis of a future where most people will work online, or employ internet instruments like video conferencing to complete tasks (Corporation, 2019). In these settings, employees will have the opportunity and freedom to control their productivity and performance. The uptight manager-worker supervision will cease to exist paving the way for an era free of stringent structures of business organizations.
It is also worth noting that prospects show that in the days to come, technology will perform all the job seeking and workers will only submit profiles and get matched with relevant employers. While these events are already taking shape, these trends will increase courtesy of the many innovations witnessed in information technology and the communications sector. There is an expectation that sophistication levels of these talent platforms will rise allowing companies and employees to parse through vast amounts of profiles and be able to find the right pick depending on their specific needs. This time-reduction by the innovations will cut down unemployment and increase the number of individuals who are financially stable, including the young generation. However, there exist concerns related to this type of employer-employee relationship. Chances remain high that inequality will increase in the coming days as individuals will take advantage of readily available labor and the unavailability of formal procedures like contracts-signing.
Technology in industry constitutes the majority of transformations in different fields of production and distribution. Conveyor belts and other inventions from the past claimed considerable numbers of people’s jobs in the past. However, this would soon be incomparable to what is about to come if innovators actualize the vision of automation. The idea of robots replacing people in most activities may sound life-threatening especially to individuals who work for survival. The productivity of workers in the future is most likely to set new record highs; however, at a high cost as well (Fox & Connor, 2019).
These robotic intelligent computer systems will have a significant effect on the workplace bringing about a dramatic change, drastic than the results of the internet. From healthcare to manual work to advertising, software and computerized robots will soon take over most tasks rendering a significant number of professions obsolete. However, these future technologies will not have an impact on responsibilities with interactive features. Careers and work related to public relations will remain intact.
Labor migration refers to the process of individuals moving across countries in search of employment. With the difference between populations, expanding young population in Africa and India and the aging population in most European countries, individuals may need to traverse borders in pursuit of better opportunities and significant pay. This situation may result in both positive and negative impacts on workers and the society in general.
Firstly, the fact that women are increasingly moving out of caregiving settings and transitioning to paid employment means that migrant workers can sufficiently fill this gap by providing the needed services. Although the digitization wave reduces the number of people available for work significantly, many people cannot engage in other unconventional job descriptions and would instead seek employment. It, therefore, means globalization of organizations and the launch of a branch in new areas will continue to attract millions of people in the future.
The composition of the workplace in the days to come will constitute people of diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds. People will flock in factories, offices, and corporations regardless of their skin color and nationalities. The mixture of experiences between these individuals will have a tremendous effect on their productivity as a workforce since people naturally feel motivated when there is a general lack of discrimination. However, it is highly probable that most workers will also be available to work in poor conditions and little pay. If labor becomes readily available then the willingness of people to pay well reduces. Employment will, therefore, take advantage of this readily available cheap labor and most probably fail to reward them sufficiently.
It is a universal truth that an increase in the number of immigrants in a country results in social tensions and instances of discrimination, favoritism. It is impossible to rule out these factors while predicting the direction of work in the upcoming years. Labor migration is most likely to spark a wave of populism and activism that will function to support the welfare of these individuals and fight for their rights, as it is clear some level of resistance will sprout, with evidence of racialist and xenophobic behaviors.
In the modern day human resource departments, executives are beginning to embrace instruments to support and enhance the productivity of their workers. These methods continue to show success in the levels already tested and applied, and it remains a potential method for future use. The use of this tool takes on two paths. First, it focuses on employee experiences and their period of adjustment in a new environment. Vocational psychology concentrates in helping people overcome the many challenges in contemporary life and to enable them to maintain their stability, for them to continue to contribute to the community.
Secondly, industrial organization psychology is a newly introduced field that focuses primarily on the enhancement of workforces using psychology. The future of personnel selection and training highly depends on the use of these new age methods to ensure that individuals get adequate preparation from the onset, an upstream kind of problem-solving. Most organizations will soon employ these strategies in the quest to fashion the ideal worker, who will respond adequately to change in the given environment.
While technology is set to significantly reduce the number of available jobs in the future through automation, robotics and intelligent computer systems, it is essential that will people capture the many benefits associated with it. The harnessing of these advantageous sides of technology can mean the creation of surplus, improve the economy and provide opportunities for those who will most probably lose their jobs, causing a creative balance. Additionally, it is crucial that individuals find creative ways in which human beings can work hand in hand with machines.
Since the world is moving to a new age and the future of work will experience both positive and negative movements. It is prudent that employers and governments start making plans to ensure that the new era brings more of the good than the bad. These new targets are achievable if administrations, whether federal or organizational, stimulate investments in the business to create more jobs. Since technologizing will mean people are losing jobs, it is not too early to start rethinking outcomes and possibly start considering basic universal income and other modified safety nets for those gravely affected by the transitions (Company, 2019).
Policy makers and other experts in the education sector should implement more progressive policies that insist on mathematics, science and, technology that guarantee an innovative tomorrow, one with productive, growing and stable economies. This plan will see to it that people are ready to face the new changes set to come. It will guarantee that work in society remains valuable and people can help one another improve their quality of lives.
The value and definition of work are slowly changing in the world. People are beginning to embrace new ideas that will have significant consequences in how businesses will conduct their operations in the future. Works structures are set to change with the adoption of new technological inventions that enhance processes by cutting down on human capital. Other factors like an increase in gender equality practices will see the composition of workplaces involve more balanced ratios between men and women. While this transition could bring about positive impacts to workplaces and populations in general, it is crucial that all persons, organizations, and administrations do all within their power to positively impact the future of work.
Company, M. (2019). Technology, jobs, and the future of work. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/technology-jobs-and-the-future-of-work
Corporation, R. (2019). The Future at Work — Trends and Implications. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB5070/index1.html
Fox, K., & Connor, J. (2019). Five ways work will change in the future. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/29/five-ways-work-will-change-future-of-workplace-ai-cloud-retirement-remote
Prieto, M., & Travieso, M. M. (2018). A Reflection on the future of work and society. IusLabor, (2), 350-359.